Everything’s falling apart, and Zorro can’t be found anywhere anymore. Luckily, we have his sidekick, Sergent Garcia, a Spaniard from Paris who makes Cuban-Jamaican joints and jams, to voice proletarian paeans for us in Spanish and French and English.
And, luckily, Garcia has stepped up his game. His earlier stabs at what he calls “salsamuffin” (not to be confused with cumbiamuffin or reggaetón) were nice and sometimes hot, but his Locos del Barrio band just didn’t have enough firepower. So he road-trips it out to Kingston and Santiago de Cuba, and suddenly his liberal sentiments are wearing dope new kicks. Reggae just sounds better when Tyrone Downie is playing your keyboards; a nine-minute son epic can’t survive without a piano solo from Alexander Ferrer.
Tempting to say it’s all about the guests (especially if it allows me to mention Tanya Stephens’s fly toasting on “Nada Tiene Final”), but Garcia’s songs on La Semilla Escondida are also better than ever: preaching hard in “L’Équilibre Est Fragile,” decrying Babylonia in “Mi Ultima Voluntad,” crooning sweetly on “El Asalto” about how sometimes you have to stop singing and just beat bad guys up and burn their houses. So who needs Zorro?
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on March 23, 2004